Modern frameless solutions

With frameless glass and a minimal take on design being huge trends, Simon Boocock, managing director of CRL Europe, discusses why this look is so popular and how specifiers tap into it.

Minimalist, frameless glass creates a modern, clean impression on building exteriors and in interior design. Glass itself is a material that very much taps into the trend for ‘less is more’, creating a neat, minimal and uniform design.

There is no doubt that frameless glass systems – whether seen on balconies and balustrades on the outside of apartment blocks, or internally on stair cases and glass partitions in office buildings – have aesthetic appeal. The latter are increasingly being chosen for open-plan office environments, creating a high-end aesthetic while also being a highly practical way of creating a bright, spacious working environment and enhancing acoustics.

While frameless glass systems are very much in demand, this doesn’t reduce the installation challenges involved, particularly when working at height. What does make a difference in this regard is ensuring that the most suitable solutions are called into action, ensuring that frameless glass doors, balustrades and balconies can all be fitted safely, efficiently and securely.

Glass stair rails and all-glass walls, for example, present tricky mounting conditions, particularly when opting for a minimal, frame-free finish. Thankfully, CRL Langle standoff fittings make glass rail and all-glass walls installation easier, as they feature a steel back point that has been developed to be installed on rough, self-supporting substructures. With their AISI 304 grade stainless steel construction, the standoffs are suitable for a wide range of indoor and outdoor applications and can be fastened directly to steel, concrete or wood. They come in two options: either fix, or with horizontal, vertical and horizontal offset adjustments.

Both fix and adjustable standoffs are available in two diameters and are suitable for toughened monolithic glass from 8mm to 24mm in thickness to achieve the necessary loading strength. They have been tested to the international standards including DIN EN ISO 4628 as well as salt spray tested.

For building exteriors, CRL has a similar time-saving, safe solution in the form of Taper-Loc for installing glass balustrades. Available for toughened laminated and monolithic glass between 12mm and 25.52mm, and in a choice of finishes including satin adonised and brushed nickel, Taper-Loc is a dry-glazed railing system that reduces fitting time by more than 50% as it is a unique design that uses precision tension to secure the glass in the aluminium base shoe without the use of cement.

Using CRL’s exclusive TLK12 installation and removal tool, the Tapers simply slide horizontally in the base shoe before being compressed, where it expands and locks into place. It also enables installation to be completed from the safe side of the balustrade from start to finish, which is particularly useful in retrofit projects or when a broken glass panel needs to be changed as it eliminates the need for expensive scaffolding, cuts installation times, and provides safety and security for installer and end user.

Tested to meet building code requirements such as BS6180:2011 and German AbP, the system uses a horizontal design, which allows it to be adjusted, dismantled and re-set within minutes. The aluminium base shoe, available in 3m lengths, can be surface or fascia-mounted, and provided drilled or undrilled.

Architectural hardware plays a large part in setting the overall aesthetics of a space, both internally and externally, and with the right systems in place for installation, specifiers can tap into this trend with ease.